Navigating ‘thin’ dating markets: Mid-life repartnering in the era of dating apps and websites

Zack Dwyer, Nicholas Hookway, Brady Robards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This article is a qualitative analysis of how people aged in their 30s and 40s use dating apps and websites to repartner following relationship separation or divorce. While ‘mid-life’ is a period of significant relationship churn, there is little sociological research that addresses how people in this age group use digital dating technologies to repartner. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with a small group of Australians, the article shows how dating technologies help ‘thicken’ thin dating markets associated with time pressures and access to the night economy, but also loss and convergence of friendship networks unique to mid-life. The study highlights the impact of gender on digital repartnering experiences, particularly experiences of online safety, and introduces the concept of ‘emotional filtering’ to describe how past relationships specifically shape the repartnering process for this middle-aged group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Sociology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020


  • dating
  • sexuality
  • romance
  • relationships
  • social media

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